Former Team Kawasaki rider Jeff Ward always has been, is, and always will be fast…very fast. The seven-time AMA National Champion spent much of the ’80s dominating racetracks around the country and around the globe. He will go down in history as the only rider to win titles in all four AMA professional series: Supercross, 125, 250 and 500. That feat can never be equalled now that the 500 class is no more. So after accomplishing all there was to accomplish in the world of motocross, Wardy turned his attention to Indy cars and the Indy Racing League, where he now races for A.J. Foyt. Here’s what Jeff had to say about the difference between racing motocross and Indy cars, his fan support, and the attitudes of riders today.

‘Motocross is a much more individual sport than auto racing. You’re not going to win a race unless you train hard and have a desire.’

This was no surprise to us because after talking with Jimmy Weinart about the young Jeff Ward, Jimmy told us that Wardy’s success was no fluke. ‘He worked harder at it than anyone’, Weinart said.
‘With auto racing the recipe for success is not as clear-cut’, says Jeff. ‘There are so many variables that go into it. There’s the money, equipment, team personnel, sponsors, and so on. You can be 100% prepared, but there are ten different things that can go wrong. Also in motocross, if you’ve got talent, anything goes. In auto racing you encounter a lot of people with a lot of different opinions, and even if you don’t get along with them you still have to work with them.’

After enjoying so much success in motocross it should come as no surprise that Jeff has quite a large fan base. ‘Most of my fans at the car races come from motocross. Nobody in auto racing knows me by the nickname ‘Wardy’, so when I hear it I know they are motocross people. My fans also feel a lot closer to me than regular automobile race fans because, face it; every kid has ridden a mini bike or a motorcycle. They can identify with me. Not many people will ever drive an Indy car, but everybody has ridden a dirt bike.

As for the attitudes of riders today, Ward had this to say: ‘I hear riders complain about their finish because the shock wasn’t set up right. What are they talking about? If there are bumps out there that kick the bike, then don’t hit them! In motocross it is your line, your riding ability, and how you deal with track conditions that determine how you do in a race.’ And after winning seven AMA National Titles, and getting (among other great finishes) a second at the Indy 500 because he ran out of gas, Jeff Ward should know what it takes to win a race.


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